Category Archives: tribute albums

I heard you speak my name

I’m sure at least some noticed an invitation appearing on Monday morning from none other than John Taylor. He asked Duranies to join him at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood on Tuesday night, where Halo Circus was to appear and perform.

Halo Circus is a band fronted by Alison Iraheta, their label is a subsidiary of Manimal Vinyl called Badlands Records. As you might already know from reading previous blogs – Halo Circus’ version of “Do You Believe In Shame” is included on the upcoming Making Patterns Rhyme tribute album. They also have another single, “Gone” that is worth checking out.

When John issued the invitation, I was curious as to how many Duranies might show that night. From my own observations it didn’t seem as though the “Do You Believe in Shame” cover went over well with many Duran fans, and so it was tough to gauge interest. That said, John Taylor seemed to indicate that he would be there that night, and I figured that many fans might make plans to go solely for that reason.

I was not able to be there myself, but I heard from many that John was in fact there, and I’ve seen several photos of the evening…but what I was most excited by was a video posted of Halo Circus performing “Do You Believe in Shame”. Personally I loved the album version of the cover. Alison’s voice speaks to me, telling me a completely different story of that song than I’d ever heard before.  It hits me in my soul – and while yes, the original is the original, this long time Duran Duran fan actually PREFERS this cover. Halo Circus gave new life and meaning to this song for me, breathing a sense of urgency, pain and desperation that strikes me right in the gut. I love it. My question was whether or not I’d feel that same intensity in a live performance, so I was delighted to find video of this song on YouTube. Check it out!

This one song exceeded my expectations for the entire night…and you can bet that the next time they play, I won’t miss the show…John Taylor or not!

-R

 

The Chauffeur – Covers!

This week, I decided to go for another often covered song from Duran’s catalog – The Chauffeur.  If you haven’t checked out Warpaint’s cover from the Manimal-curated soon-to-be-released album titled Making Patterns Rhyme yet, go here!

The Chauffeur is obviously a fan favorite, and as such, I think it’s tough for fans to find a cover of this that they really can approve of. Again, I still think it has everything to do with some misaligned band loyalty than it does the songs themselves, so I’m going to keep working at this until we find songs that people like!  Expose your ears to something new – it’s good for you, it’s good for your brain, and it’s good for your spirit! (Really, there was a recent study done that concluded hearing new music is really good for your brain – it helps your brain stay young. We all need that!!)

Just as I did last week, I went to YouTube to find some covers. Some are well-recognized, others are more obscure.  Take a listen and see what you think.  My short review is under each link!

The Chauffeur – Sneaker Pimps

This cover remains very faithful to the original, which leaves me wondering what else they could have done with it to make it their own.  There’s a lot of echo and reverb in parts of this, which makes the song feel dreamy and existential. Overall it’s a good, solid effort to pay homage to the original.

The Chauffeur – Deftones

This one draws me in immediately because I like the hard edge of the guitar.  The vocals are incredibly similar to Simon’s, and they have the same type of effect on them that the original has.  I do like the way they have turned up the guitar here, although I think it might have the tendency to drown out the vocals.

The Chauffeur – Velvet

I found this cover on YouTube and it was one I hadn’t heard before.  This one uses a slightly quicker tempo and synth loops that are a little more like bells than the original. It’s pretty faithful to the original in spirit, even though it does not use the same musical arrangement and feels a little “thin” until 2/3 of the way through the song when the drums pick up.

The Chauffeur – Cashmir

This is a Finnish band and the cover is ever-so-slightly different in parts. The vocals are drawn out (and changed) in parts, and the music really worried me at first because I couldn’t tell where they were really headed musically, and that goes on throughout the song in between verses. It goes from being very faithful (albeit they use a much fuller musical arrangement that sort of topples over into “soft rock”) to being something, well…we’ll just say very different.  The things they change are very creative, even though I really don’t think they work for the song.  The music changes the spirit of the song, and if nothing else, it’s very interesting to hear how changing the arrangement as well as a few lines of vocals and how they are sung really makes the song reflect differently on the listener.

The Chauffeur – Marco Morgan Castoldi

I’d be into this more if I didn’t hear his mistakes…but this is live, and I’ll give the guy credit for playing it at all.  Other than that, the cover is very faithful to the original, although it’s done on piano and I especially like what he did with the mid-section.

The Chauffeur – Forgotten Toys

I was underwhelmed with this local Chicago band’s version until they got to the mid-section where they dared to turn up the guitar and let her go.  The tempo is upbeat (I think it should not have been because it loses effect that way), but the guitar adds a really nice texture to the smoothness of the vocals.  For the guitar solo, they dared to go on step further and blend a bit from Kashmir by Led Zeppelin into the song. Surprisingly, it’s kind of cool and works with this harder-edged cover.

The Chauffeur – A Toys Orchestra

I can’t say I love this one. It takes forever to get going and once it does – you’d think you were in the races to the finish.  They speed this up way fast, and it loses the original effect with nothing done to try and change the song.  Then they put this electronica section in after the first chorus. I applaud their effort, but it’s not a favorite.

The Chauffeur – Iraina Mancini

I am happy to include one version by a female. I have to say though, that for me – while this cover is beautiful and it’s clear she is a well-trained vocalist, I think it loses something (for me) when sung by a female.  It’s otherwise very similar to the original with nothing really changed, but somehow just having a woman sing turns the whole song completely on it’s head and makes it something completely different.

There’s eight versions for you.  Truthfully, none of them really push the envelope and stray too far from the original…but that’s OK.  Check them out, see what you think – comment back with your favorite, or if you’ve got others for me to post I’m happy to do that too!

-R

 

 

 

The Chauffeur – Warpaint (Making Patterns Rhyme Cover Album)

I love the days when Manimal releases a new song from the Making Patterns Rhyme album, because it’s like getting brand new music! Today is certainly no exception. I suspect that many fans will find this new single easy on the palate, and perhaps even something that they’ll add to their playlists.

When I first hit ‘play’, I won’t lie – at first I found myself the teensiest bit underwhelmed. It’s not that the song isn’t beautiful or that the vocals left me cold. I liked the sound, but I felt like they could have pushed that envelope a bit further. It sounded too much like what Duran Duran had done. I wanted more. I wanted to hear what Warpaint could really do with it on their own.

At this point – I might have shut the song off to write a short blog because I thought I’d gotten a good idea of what they’d done. This time though, I left the song playing as I went on to tackle the next morning task on my list. I’m glad I did, because as they say – “the best was yet to come”. The further it got into the song, the more that Warpaint played with the melody – not taking away from the original, but adding more to the sound. The vocals grew more haunting, more ethereal; the music more deconstructed, so to speak. They explored the sounds in a way that Duran Duran hadn’t, and I loved it! The last 30 seconds or so of the song are worth waiting for – and you’ll want to play the song over and over again because it really is that good. They took the beauty of the original and added their own color to the artistic palate.  Rather than just being comfortable with letting the original melody stand on it’s own, they explored a bit with the sound combinations, and in many ways – Warpaint improved upon the original. I suspect this one sentence may get me into trouble with my fellow Duranies, but it’s the truth – and it pays the highest compliment possible to Duran Duran.

Additionally, I’m taking a second to gush over the artwork that our very own Patty Palazzo has created for the project.  In each case, she has taken an image from the original song (most from videos, with the obvious exceptions of the songs that did not have videos) and updated it as the artwork for the cover version.  It’s kind of like taking a bit of the old to send off the new, and I love that simple, yet effective theme.  I really like the specific images Patty has chosen – they ‘re iconic for us, and explanative of the cover version as well.

Take a listen and let me know what you think! -R

Covers, Covers, we got your covers!!

Second “real” blog post in two days.  You’d think I was gearing back up for an album or something…

I think most Duranies are aware of the Making Patterns Rhyme tribute album that Manimal records is producing, and if you’re not familiar with the yet-to-be-released full album, surely you’ve heard Moby’s Rio and Belief’s Sound of Thunder.   If not – go check them out, the links are there for your convenience!

Yesterday, John Taylor asked DDHQ to ask about your favorite Duran Duran cover song.  I almost tweeted back that I was going to sit down with some popcorn and drinks, and let the games begin.  I knew that I’d be reading a litany of “You can’t do Duran Duran better than Duran Duran”, but I was curious to see what other answers might come up.

Personally, I haven’t paid a ton of attention to covers over the years. I knew they were out there – but I didn’t really care. I didn’t hate them, but I didn’t really feel the need to hear them, either. I was so busy just enjoying Duran Duran that I didn’t think I needed to pay attention. I knew Reel Big Fish had done Hungry Like the Wolf, and I remember Hole’s version on The Chauffeur…and I can’t really forget the medley of DD songs that Rockapella performed  (I have it on my iPad somewhere…), but I didn’t take the time to really search or listen beyond that.  Somehow, I suspect I’m not alone.

So, when John Taylor asked about our favorite covers yesterday, I really thought about the question, and more importantly, why he might be asking. There were definitely an overwhelming number of  those “it’s nothing if it’s not Duran Duran” type-replies, and I suspect that John knew he’d see that. So, why ask?  I’m sure he was curious what we have heard. After all, not every single Duran Duran cover has been promoted by the band. (and from the research I’ve done in the past couple of days, I can understand why…) I think asking that sort of question gives him a reasonable gauge of what we’ve exposed ourselves to hearing.  I also think he wanted to somehow indicate that while he appreciates loyalty to the band and all – he fully expects that we might occasionally hear, and enjoy a cover of their music…and that it’s OK.  Additionally, just talking about covers gets fans thinking about covers, and maybe, just maybe…it gets us listening and exposing our ears to what is out there.

My own response, and theory to what is going on here with the complete dismay, dislike, and venom (I could go on…) for the covers of Rio and Sound of Thunder (not as much so for the LUXXURY version of Girls on Film…) is that quite simply: I don’t think fans are used to hearing them much.  We haven’t taken the time to expose ourselves. It takes time to accept that it’s OK that it’s not Simon singing the vocals, John on bass, Nick…Roger…etc, and the only way you grow to accept it is to force yourself to keep listening.  Eventually you realize that no, the world does NOT come to an end because someone covered a Duran Duran song. Even better, you start recognizing that yes, there are people out there who have a tremendous gift and can continue to be creative with what is already an amazing song. Then the pendulum starts to swing to the point where you want to see just how far someone can go with the original song.  How far can it be taken before it’s not really Rio, or Hungry Like the Wolf or The Chauffeur?  Where are the boundaries?? Sure, this might not be the case for everyone, but I really kind of think it’s the case for many.  I know because I was there, and I’m betting I’m not alone. This was definitely me several years back.  I though I was being the good little fan by saying nothing was as good as the original.  I missed out on some really great music in the process.

I made the comment yesterday that part of the problem is that I don’t think fans have been exposed to many covers and that someone…maybe even a fan blog (because I’m a smart ass that way) should start posting some and getting people to listen.  I’ll say this much: after you hear some really bad covers, you start listening to the covers that might be way out there but still very creative much, much differently.  I can almost promise that.

So each week I’m going to take Wednesdays (since this is what day this is) and post some covers and a short little review of them.  It’s going to be YOUR job, as good readers, to listen and post whatever you think.  You are probably going to hate most of them at first. I get that. I’ll keep reminding you that they’re not as terrible (most of the time) as you think, and that no – Simon will not hate you for listening to them.  That I can pretty much promise.  Eventually you might just find something you like, and by that time, hopefully this damn #DD14 album will be READY TO PLAY!!!  (that was for you, John Taylor and Co….)  What I’m going to try to do is pick a song and then find a few covers of that song to post.  I might not ever find them all – in which case if you know of one to share, please do. Send a link, email us…and we’ll post it!

The question is where to begin. So this week let’s try Ordinary World. There are a TON of covers of this song, so I picked my favorites. If you have others that you want me to hear, send ’em!! Link is in the title:artist name. Short review is below each.

Ordinary World: Aurora

So this cover is different. The melody is definitely secondary to the rhythm track – in an attempt to make it danceable, and it has a much more atmospheric, spacey sound in parts. It’s also sped way, way up from the original.  That said, it’s completely recognizable…and the lead singer is apparently Robert Pattinson’s (of Twilight fame) older sister.  She has a beautiful voice.  Funny how I never thought much about females taking on Duran’s tunes before…but as you’re going to see over the next several weeks, MANY of the most beautiful covers out there are done by females!

Ordinary World: Gregorian

Very interesting, this Gregorian. (really…I’ve studied real Gregorian chant, and it’s not quite to that point) The music is somewhat subdued, and of course the voices are meant to stand out on their own.  For me, this doesn’t really quite do it…but you know, it IS beautiful in it’s own right. I just keep thinking it feels a bit too much like karaoke.

Ordinary World: Joy Williams

This is my favorite cover of this song (that I’ve found so far).  Haunting, emotional…it’s as though all of the sorrow that could be found in this song is packed into her vocals. No guitar, just piano…and it’s stunning in every single way.

Ordinary World: Red

Love the strings on this one and the additional synth sounds make it interesting and their own. The song is executed in much of the same style as Duran Duran, but it’s definitely their own spin on it musically with a little more of a rock anthem type of sound to it.

Ordinary World: Ainjel Emme

Another female artist.  This time, it’s just guitar and vocals.  Her vocals are stunning, and the guitar is acoustic – very pretty.  My only constructive criticism is that she does very little to make the song her own, and I’d like to hear what she could do to take the song to a different place.

Ordinary World: Rust

Wow. This is a much harder rock version. They kept the melody, the guitar solo…probably kept most of the synth that we know…and added a whole new element. Truthfully out of the covers I chose to include, this is probably the farthest from the original – but it’s interesting.  The hard rock gives the song a great gritty texture to it for those moments where I’m really just majorly pissed off AND sad at the same time!

That’s six different versions of Ordinary World. I know there are a ton more out there that I didn’t even include (I could be here for days…listening and writing away….), but it’s a start. Take a listen. Get your ears used to hearing other people performing Duran’s music. It won’t kill you. In fact, I think it broadens the horizons a bit.

-R

 

 

 

 

DD Tribute Album (Making Patterns Rhyme) Taster – Rio (Moby)

I have been sitting back and waiting patiently for the first single from Making Patterns Rhyme to emerge, and today we received a taster of Moby’s cover of “Rio”. It’s not the entire song, but it’s a minute and a half of something that is incredibly different from what fans know to be Rio, and for that, I need to applaud Moby.

Personally, I think the first clue that this cover was not going to be a rehash of “Rio” came from the fact that this is a COVER album. When I first heard of this tribute being created, I knew this would go one of two ways: either the songs would sound very similar to the originals  and fans would hate them…or they’d sound very different from the originals, and fans would hate them.  Why?

Well, that’s really the easy question to answer. The fans of which I am speaking (and they’re not difficult to find – just look at Duran Duran’s Facebook page today and find the post of Moby’s Rio cover.  Check out the comments. They’re scathing.) are diehard fans. To them, Rio is the Holy Grail. I knew this was going to be a hard sell for many a Duran fan out there, and while I can understand why – I think you have to go into each song (and no, you absolutely might not like them all, and that’s OK!) with a pretty clear head and heart. Listen to each song on it’s own merits – not those of Duran Duran. It isn’t easy to listen to a song that you have adored for thirty years be completely redone into something that isn’t automatically recognizable, and I understand how fans feel in that regard. The knee jerk reaction is to automatically say you can’t stand it, shut it off, and then listen to the original as some sort of “cleanse”. I’ve had those moments myself. Not necessarily for this particular cover…but for others, absolutely.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t want to hear Moby be Duran Duran, because that’s just some sort of twisted karaoke. I want to hear Moby’s interpretation of Rio.

Moby’s version is nothing like the original, except in spirit, and I’m honestly a little surprised that fans can’t at least hear that. I would say that one need not look further for artistic inspiration than to the graphic design for the cover. (Beautifully created by none other than Patty Palazzo – and I mean it from the heart when I say it’s brilliant. That one image is exactly how I hear the song.) When I listen to the song, rather than the song actually reminding me of the way Duran Duran recorded the song, it reminds me of the ocean itself. I like that the cover is softer, dreamy…lazy like a summer day. Do I love it as much as the original? I have to be honest – for me it’s a completely different song altogether. It’s not really something I can compare. I can say though that I have played it more than once, and with each listen I like it more. I would have been very disappointed if it had sounded like the original, because that just isn’t the point of a cover at all.  (This reminds me of the discussion I saw among Tears for Fears fans when Lorde did a cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”.  Fans were ready to start burning effigies of her because she dared to try something new and made the song dark and haunting.)

I suspect that the intention with this tribute album was to have the artists completely reinterpret the originals, and I’m betting that Manimal Records doesn’t really care what the diehard Duranies really think of the finished product(s), nor should they. We’re not necessarily the audience they’re going after, and that’s OK. The trouble for fans is that it’s really not 1983 or 1984, and times have changed. If Moby came out with Rio, Karaoke style – who’d play it today? No one. So this is his 2014 interpretation. You don’t have to love it, hell…you don’t even have to like it, but you should at least respect the space from which it’s been done.

I did go through and read the comments on Facebook. As I said before, they’re scathing, and I have to wonder what people may have thought they were going to hear. I think some were aghast that someone would dare to cover a Duran Duran song to begin with, and plenty of others said that while they’re fans of Moby – they think this is terrible.

Wanna hear it for yourself?  Here ya go…the full version!

-R